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made famous after the

made famous after the building was used on the Mateus Rosé wine labels. One of the most popular wines exported from Portugal in the 1980s, Mateus Rosé was developed especially for the British and American palate. Since then, its popularity has declined as consumers’ tastes have become more sophisticated. The palace itself was home to the last Count of Vila Real and is open to the public to view its collection of furniture, crockery, paintings and books from the 16th century onward. The This page, from top: The stately Mateus Palace, home to the last Count of Vila Real; the 19th-century Rua Augusta Arch library has a rare edition of Os Lusíadas by Luíz Vaz de Camões, considered the most famous Portuguese-language poet. After strolling around the lake in front of the gardens, the next stop was at a local quinta for wine tasting. Castelo Rodrigo is a medieval fortress town perched on a hilltop that contains the ruins of a castle. The town was a thriving center for commerce in medieval times, and for centuries the castle protected the land from the Moors and the Spanish. Following a period of Spanish control, the locals burned down the castle when Portugal gained its independence in 1640, and it was never rebuilt. The town has an interesting history. It enjoyed two centuries of peaceful coexistence between the Jewish and Christian populations until the Spanish Inquisition decimated the Jews. Many Jews chose to become Christians to avoid persecution but continued to practice their true religion behind closed doors. Surrounding the town are fields of almond trees, and you can buy almond-based products including liqueur. The town dominates the surrounding landscape and there are amazing views to enjoy all around the castle. The population is greatly reduced, with only a few families remaining, but walking around the peaceful streets gives a sense of the importance and grandeur of the town’s glory days. The day trip to Salamanca was filled with great experiences. The first stop was the covered market near Plaza Mayor, where different stalls offered a fantastic array of fresh fish, meat and vegetables. The tour finished with a visit to a tapas stall, where we sampled squid, cheese, olives and chorizo washed down with a fruity white wine. There was much to explore around the town, including two cathedrals and the Art Nouveau and Art Deco 126 VIKING.COM EXPLORE MORE 2020

TRAVEL This page, from top: Monument to the Discoveries, Lisbon; when in Lisbon, visit the Pastéis de Belém bakery to try one of its delicious custard tarts Museum. Another well-known building was the House of Shells, which was decorated by its owner to display his wealth. The university buildings were all built in a decorative red sandstone, and one tradition from previous centuries was for graduates to climb up the sides of the building and write their names in bull’s blood. Some of the names could still be seen high on the walls of some of the dwellings. As it was Saturday, there were many weddings taking place in Salamanca’s cathedral and churches, and we joined groups of exuberant, cheering wedding guests gathering in the streets to celebrate the bridal parties. It was interesting to see how glamorous the Spanish wedding parties were; many of the women in attendance would not be out of place at a ball, dressed in their long, brightly colored gowns. Bands of musicians wearing traditional black capes serenaded the brides and grooms, while confetti bombs and firecrackers added to the incredible street-party atmosphere. During the cruise, there were several opportunities to sample some of the wines and ports of the region. In Porto, the included excursion ended with a trip around Ferreira Cellars, located on the river close to where Viking Osfrid was docked. A tour of the cellars was very informative, and one of the things we learned about was the storage of ruby and tawny ports. Ruby ports are stored in large vats so there is less oxidization, which helps to retain their ruby-red color. Tawnies, on the other hand, are stored in barrels to help create the wine’s distinctive brown hue. There were further opportunities to enjoy delicious Portuguese and Spanish wines as part of the wonderful Quinta da Avessada, Castelo Rodrigo and Salamanca excursions, as well as on board the ship itself. Drinking the wines and ports of the Douro Valley was one of the many special highlights of the voyage. GETTING THERE: The 10-day Portugal’s River of Gold® journey travels from Lisbon to Porto. Go online: Watch a video of the Portugal’s River of Gold itinerary at vrc.com/videos EXPLORE MORE 2020 VIKING.COM 127